The Fine Art of Mothering & Business

Editors note: As part of our May theme I invited Angela, the talented artist & creator of The Artists’ House to share her story of learning the fine art of balancing art, business and mothering. I feel like motherhood is one of those topics that needs to be shared in stories and it is powerful how many things we all have in common. These are the threads that tie us together as mothers and I have to thank Angela for sharing so openly the words of her heart.

angela flicker, the fine art of mothering, mompreneur stories

by Angela Flicker of The Artists House

About eight months ago, I had a book publisher interested in me and my work.  I was ecstatic.   Not many people were interested in little old me –a stay at home mom, who was trying to make money on the side by quilting, designing, and teaching.  I put my entire heart into the book proposal, which involved designing 10 original quilts, and making 6 of them, along with writing up a few chapters of the book as well.  I had about 2 months to get the proposal done and off to the publisher.  I stayed up during the nights and worked while my family slept, often working until 2, 3, sometimes 4 in the morning.  During the day I would watch my daughter, and try to take care of our home.  The workload was difficult, but my heart was in my work –both the work I did at night sewing, and the work I did during the day watching my daughter

angela flicker, the fine art of mothering, mompreneur stories

I remember one morning, about a month into my work, my daughter woke up around 6 a.m., right after my husband had left for work, and only a few hours after I had gone to bed.  I was exhausted and annoyed to say the least.  As an attempt to get just a few more minutes of sleep, I brought my daughter, who was almost 1 ½ at the time, back to bed with me.  After a bit of nursing, both of us feel back to sleep.  I woke, a little later in the morning, still comatose, to find my daughter still sleeping next to me, but this time cuddling with one of my high heel shoes.  As strange as it was, my heavy eyes won, and instantly I drifted back off to sleep, with my daughter and a high heel shoe in my arms.  A little while later, I woke again, still unaware of the time, to a clunk, clunk, clunk noise rhythmically dancing around the hardwood floors in my room.  I rolled over, and with all the energy I could muster; I opened my eyes to see my daughter, in her PJs and wild bed hair, walking around my bedroom, wearing a pair of my high heel shoes.  This was the first time I had ever seen her do this –mimic me by wearing my shoes.  As tired as I was, my heart warmed, and a huge smile made it’s way onto my face.  I grabbed my daughter and hugged her tight –as tired as I was from working in the evenings, I loved being home with my daughter during the day for these little moments.

As adorable and sweet as the previous story is, in all reality, as time went on, things just got more difficult and I was struggling.  A toll was taken on both my family and myself for sure.  I felt like neither a good wife, nor a good mother.  I was however able to finish and submit my book proposal, while at the same time caring for my daughter every day without help.  I sometimes taught in the afternoon after my husband got home from work, and I also prepared and attended two holiday craft shows for a little extra cash.  All in all, we survived, and slowly things went back to normal, as I anxiously waited to hear back from the publishers.

angela flicker, the fine art of mothering, mompreneur stories

A few days before my 30th birthday, late in the afternoon after my daughter’s nap, and about 4 hours before a big party that was being thrown in my honor, I finally heard back from the publisher, “The team really felt that your work is excellent, but that the book would have limited appeal as a collection.”  I was declined and heartbroken to say the least.  I started to cry.  My daughter came to my side, wrapped her arms around my legs, looked up at me, and asked, “Momma, you sad?”.  I picked her up, and hugged her tight, and as sad as I was in that moment, I knew I was ok because I had the love of my daughter, and truly nothing in the world was greater than that.

Being a stay-at-home-mother and running a creative business on the side is hard –a rollercoaster really!  Nothing is consistent or predictable.  Orders come in, children get sick, and deadlines hang over your head.  Business slows, business booms, rejection, and good news are all part of the game.  And on the good days, and the bad, when nothing seems stable, one thing always is, the love you have for your children.  I’m sure I’ll continue to experience the ups and downs of running a business at home, but on the other hand, I have the consistency of a loving child who is with me each and every day.  Though I know my business is not progressing as fast as it could if I devoted my time solely to my work, I will never regret or forget these wonderful years at home with my children.

angela flicker, the fine art of mothering, mompreneur stories

Angela Flicker specializes in machine appliqué quilts and creates customized, truly unique quilts, sewn together one piece at a time –quilts that are “only the best” for you and your loved ones. Along with quilts, she also creates unique fiber wall art and other home decor items using quality turned-edge machine appliqué techniques, quilting techniques, and wool appliqué techniques.  Angela makes things that make a house not just a house, but a home.  You can shop The Artists’ House on Etsy and follow her fabulous sewing blog where she offers up many free patterns and tutorials.  OMHG readers get 15% off all items in Angela Flicker’s shop with the coupon code “OMHGROCKS”.

  • http://noisettemarketing.com Isa

    Oh my goodness! That interactive quilt is just about the best thing I have ever seen! Love it!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Angela. I totally understand where you are coming from, there have been times when I have been up all night trying to get work finished and meet deadlines then I have to get up and be a Mum to my two little ones. It is difficult and I am trying to learn how to say no as I can’t fit in too many clients but as my kids get older I will be able to do more.

    Now off to check out your blog and shop!

    Isa x

  • http://noisettemarketing.com Isa

    And congratulations on the pregnancy!! (seen on your blog) Such happy news x

  • http://noahscrew.blogspot.com/ ncrew

    This is a beautiful story, my heart just broke when I read the publishers response. OMHG, thanks for all these motherhood and business posts, they really mean a lot.

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Me too! I got all weepy reading this post the first time & could relate to those feelings of being overwhelmed balanced by the simple joy & unconditional love of a child. Such a fine balance. I am so glad you are enjoying the motherhood theme I think it might be my favorite one yet <3

  • http://meaganvisser.com Meagan

    Oh my goodness! What a great post! This just spoke volumes to me.

    I just recently found out I am expecting again, so I’ve had to simplify commitments & priorities in my business to now fit around the changes that this wonderful pregnancy will bring & I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged & unsure about it all.

    So anyway, this post was VERY encouraging to me. I totally agree with business growing slowly, but that sure beats it growing quickly & neglecting my family. Thanks so much Angela!

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Congratulations Meagan! Pregnancy is one of those miraculous but terrifying experiences that throw our ideas of how we thought things would be for a loop! I know that you will find your equilibrium and a pace that will work for you and that can evolve as you & your family grow. Wishing you many thoughts for a healthy & beautiful pregnancy sweetie<3

  • http://www.alamodestuffblog.com Linda @alamodestuff

    Angela, You are not alone! I’ve experienced similar ups and downs, challenges and disappointments as a sahm running a business. The lessons I’ve learned have been great in through it all. Even through the tears thinking my business would fall apart or how terrible a mom I must be, I’ve slowly found a balance I’m loving and realization that it all works out. Just embrace each moment of every role you undertake. If doors shut, others will open.

  • http://www.everynothingwonderful.com/ Tricia @ {every}nothing wonderful

    Sadly publishing is tough business…so is motherhood, but the reward for the latter? Limitless.

    I am so glad I am a horrific seamstress because WHOA, these are shockingly beautiful. I can just sit back and appreciate and not have to feel intimidated LOL Beautiful, beautiful work. I wish I could afford one, no all of your work!

  • http://www.threebysea.com Nicole : Three By Sea

    Angela- thank you! I’m absolutely loving these stories of motherhood & entrepreneurship on OMHG lately and hearing women talk about the gratitude they feel being home with their kids, despite the slow biz progress or erratic schedules.
    I’m so sorry your book wasn’t picked up- I would have cried, too, and I hate getting all emotional like that! HOWEVER, in this day and age of ebooks and epublishing, and with these AWESOME and AMAZING examples of your work, I would DEFINITELY look into writing and self-publishing that book yourself! You could sell it on your site and/or through a place like eBookling.com perhaps. Do not let this be the end of a good idea. 😉

  • http://angelaflicker.com/ Angela Flicker

    Oh my goodness, I’m so happy to hear that my story is touching people. It’s hard being vulnerable on the internet, among so many talented and successful woman. I just hoped my story would help woman like me, and I’m so glad to hear that it is.

    And Jessika, can I just say that you have done a great job of creating such a warm environment here –I would not have been able to share my story otherwise.

    Thank you Isa and ncrew, for your nice words. And congratulations Megan –that’s just wonderful!

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      I just love you all, there is such kindness & compassion here in the comments-on every motherhood post so far, it’s beautiful!

      Thank you so much Angela-that is the #1 most important focus to me for OMHG, I want it to be warm & loving. A place to come when life is awesome & your business is booming but just as welcoming when it’s a struggle. I am really touched that this space is safe enough for you to share and move forward with more support.
      Big hugs to you all!

  • Jahje Bath Ives, Baby Jives

    Angela your story warms my heart as I can relate to so much of it. I am also balancing life with running a business and keeping my family first. I loved hearing about the moments with you and your daughter. My son and I actually have a ritual now of eating breakfast in bed which started because most mornings I was too tired to go downstairs when he woke. It is now one of my favorite parts of the day, albeit one I wish would start a little later. Thank you for sharing, I feel so privileged to be let into your world for an even closer glimpse of the mother, artist, and business person that you are.

  • http://doodlekreations.blogspot.com lakshmi

    angela, your post connected with me …as it did with other moms here. This might as well been my post sans the publication issue ! Your work is really stunning. Good luck with everything.

    Isn’t it a balancing act trying to grow your business and raising kids? We do the best we can in both realms. I feel when the kids are young, their needs come first , so pretty much everything comes after that.

    My mom always says, that there will be plenty of time later to take everything else to the next level. She’s got to be right , she raised me and my 2 sisters !

  • http://tarjetasyari.blogspot.com/ Yarisi Rosado

    Hi Angela, thank you for your words and testimony. Read all these stories that are so familiar and more in women who take more time than me, I do continue, without stopping. I saw your work and love it. Happy Mothers Day … Hugs!

  • http://artfulrising.com Erika

    Angela, it seems as if there are many that understand those up and down moments of growing a business and raising a family.
    My husband just told me that because I stay home I am able to experience all of the firsts of our toddlers’ lives that would have been missed if I solely focused on my business.

    And those hugs, giggles, and whispered words make it worth it all.

  • Kelly

    What a beautifully written post, and a topic that so many of us relate to. Thanks for sharing!